When we think of the planet’s climate, we often do so in dire terms. This is mainly because of man-made pollution that leads to the climate degrading. Now, a solar gadget that turns pollution into energy could be an answer to the Planet’s climate change problem.
Experts from the University of Illinois, have found a way to emulate a solar cell that turns carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into fuel. This new solar powered cell is photosynthetic instead of photovoltaic.
The system works in a different way from the photovoltaic one. It reverses the process of producing energy in an unsustainable way and turns it into combustible, through the use of sunlight.
The novel solar powered cells remove CO2 out of the atmosphere, acting in a similar way to trees and produce a type of synthetic gas, a combination of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. It can be used as it comes or converted into biodiesel.
Older methods of turning CO2 into a form of carbon have existed before, but the were tedious and ineffective. The new operation for obtaining burnable carbon uses nanoflake tungsten diselenide, a very cheap material compared to previous metals and it has the bonus of working a thousand times faster to catalyze the chemical reaction.
Carbon dioxide is more difficult to remove out of the atmosphere than other gasses, because it stays in its current form for longer than other gasses and traps the heat around the globe.
For now, the team came up with a prototype gadget on a small scale, which uses artificial sunlight and a reliable, direct source of CO2 to fine tune the carbon dioxide transforming process.
Plans include making the device bigger and pushing it to an industrial scale, then mass producing it. Mohammed Asadi, chief scientist, has a “solar park” on his mind that takes the CO2 out of the atmosphere and turns it into fuel, which could power industrial factories.
World nations agreed to keep the planet’s temperature increase below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. However, current levels of carbon dioxide pollution are set to increase temperatures by at least 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit above maximum levels of heat.
To date, temperatures around the world are higher by almost 1 degree Celsius than those of preindustrial times.
Image Source – Wikipedia